Tarique, 17 other Aug 21 accused still at large
Published : Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 607
The law enforcers have failed to arrest 18 accused, including Tarique Rahman, as they were on the run to evade justice in the August 21 grenade attack case. Tarique is now in London, and 17 others, including several intelligence officers, were earlier declared 'absconding' as they were on the run to evade justice.
A Dhaka court on October 10 in 2018 sentenced 19 people including former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar to death and awarded life imprisonment to another 19, including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, on the August 21 grenade attack in 2004.
On July 2 in 2011, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) submitted two separate supplementary charge sheets in the cases against 30 people after a fresh investigation. With the 30 accused, the number of the accused in the cases rose to 52.
On August 21 in 2004, the militant group Harkatul Jihad carried out a devastating grenade attack on an Awami League gathering at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital Dhaka.
The brutal grenade attack that killed 24 people and wounded nearly 500 finally saw justice as a special court pronounced the verdict of the case filed over the attack on October 10 in 2018.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said "We would take initiative to hold hearing on jail appeals and death reference once the paper book gets ready. I would take the initiative and would file application, if necessary, to hold the hearing."
The Supreme Court authorities said they are preparing paper book of August 21 grenade attack case. Earlier on January 13, the High Court accepted appeals filed by the convicts in two cases filed over August 21 grenade attack for hearing.
A High Court division bench comprising Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order.
"The High Court after accepting the appeals for hearing, stayed the lower court order that fined the convicts and asked it to sent the case documents," Assistant Attorney General Eusuf Mahmud Morshed told journalists on that day.
Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal pronounced the judgment ordering sentence Tarique to life term along with 18 others and also sentenced 19 people including Lutfozzaman Babar and ex-deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and several former army intelligence officers to death penalty.
The court found all the 49 accused guilty and sentenced them to different jail terms for the attack that killed 24 people and wounded some 500 others, crippling some of them for life.
The judge also made 12-point observations on the background, motive and consequences of the attack, mainly targeting incumbent Prime Minister and the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, who narrowly escaped the assault sustaining wounds.
The death penalty convicts are Lutfuzzaman Babar, Salam Pintu, Maulana Tajuddin, intelligence officials Maj Gen (Retd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury and Brig Gen Abdur Rahim, transport operator Md Hanif, militants Moulana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Abdul Mazed Bhat, Abdul Malek, Shawkat Osman, Mohibullah, Abu Sayeed, Abul Kalam Azad, Jahangir Alam, Hafez Abu Taher, Hossain Ahammed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh, Rafikul Islam and Md Uzzal.
Other then Tarique, the political figures who were handed down life imprisonments are - ex-premier Khaleda Zia's the then political adviser Haris Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.
The others to serve life term prison are militants Shahadat Ullah alias Jewel, Abdur Rouf, Sabbir Ahmed, Arif Hasan, Hafez Yahia, Abu Bokor, Ariful Islam, Mohibul Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Mohammad Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Mohammad Iqbal, Liton, Shafikur Rahman, Abdul Hai and Ratul Ahmed Babu. They all were fined Tk 50,000 each in the case lodged under Explosive Substances Act.
The court also sentenced Lutfuzzaman Babar, Abdus Salam Pintu, Moulana Tajuddin, Maj Gen (Retd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, Brig Gen Abdur Rahim, Md Hanif Mowlana Sheikh Abdus Salam, Abdul Mazed Bhat, Abdul Malek, Mowlana Shawkat Osman, Mohibullah, Mowalana Abu Sayeed, Abul Kalam Azad, Md Jahangir Alam, Hafez Mowlana Abu Taher, Hossain Ahammed Tamim, Moin Uddin Sheikh, Md Rafikul Islam and Md Uzzal to 20-year imprisonment and fined Tk 50,000 each in case lodged under Explosive Substances Act.
In the same case, the court sentenced Tarique Rahman, Haris Chowdhury, Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Kaikobad, Mufti Shafikur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Shahadat Ullah, Moulana Abdur Rouf, Moulana Sabbir Ahmed, Arif Hasan, Hafez Moulana Yahia, Abu Bokor, Ariful Islam Arif, Mohibul Muttakin, Anisul Mursalin, Md Khalil, Jahangir Alam Badar, Md Iqbal, Mowlana Liton, and Ratul Ahmed Babu to 20-year imprisonment and fined Tk 50,000 each.
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq said in several programmes that "Not only Tarique Rahman, government is trying to bring back all the fugitive convicts in the two cases."